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Long Island

Traffic cameras proposed to deter school zone speeding

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo at the

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo at the Capital on July 18, 2013. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Friday proposed installing traffic cameras in school zones on Long Island to nab and deter speeders while bringing millions of dollars in revenue to Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Cuomo's proposal for a pilot program would allow the counties to pay for as many as 125 cameras with a limit of one camera for each school district.

Earlier this month, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said cameras at 20 school zones would enhance safety for children and could bring $2 million in new revenue. Nassau County's multiyear plan includes $8 million in revenue from speed cameras and other state initiatives for 2015, $12 million annually after that.

Cuomo, a Democrat, provided no estimates of the cost of the project for counties or the revenue it could generate. The state wouldn't pay for any of the program, but part of the revenue from the cameras would go to reimburse counties' installation expenses.

"This is a proposal that will make our schools and communities safer on Long Island, and I urge the legislature to pass it this year," Cuomo said in a statement.

Cuomo included the proposal in amendments to his executive budget. The demonstration program for school zones has been defeated in past legislative sessions, but amendments tied to the state budget are harder for the State Legislature to defeat.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said the plan would increase safety, while Bellone said, "There is no excuse for speeding through a school zone during school hours and speed cameras have a proven impact of slowing down drivers."

The pilot project would expand on a system in place in both counties that photographs drivers who run red lights and is similar to a speed-camera system around some schools in New York City.

Critics of the traffic cameras argue they are an intrusion on privacy and mostly used to increase traffic ticket revenue for government.

Legislative leaders examining Cuomo budget amendments Friday had no immediate comment on whether they would support the pilot project.

Images from traffic cameras can be used as evidence in court action and are admissible in states including New York, Arizona, California and Utah.

Cuomo's deadline under state law to submit amendments to his budget proposal was Thursday night.

With Celeste Hadrick


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